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Practical Advice for Beginners of Meditation

Updated on July 14, 2011

Meditation is a wonderful daily practice to get into, but many people who are beginning meditation may feel easily discouraged because they aren't seeing the results that they expect right away. This then leads to a decline in a person's meditation habit.

Training your mind for meditation is much like an athlete training their body. An athlete doesn't start out expecting to be able to run a marathon. It's the same with training our minds for meditation. When people begin meditation, they discover just how unruly their minds can be! They find this discouraging when they are unable to just sit down and meditate for 30 minutes for the first time.

Please don't give up. The mind can be trained with a little time, patience, love and practice. The results are definitely worth it.

  • Try to meditate in the same spot, and at the same time every day. Simply setting aside a corner of a room for meditating will work just fine. The reason behind this is, by meditating in this spot and at this time each day prepares the mind for meditation. Your mind will recognize very quickly, that at this time and at this spot, it's time to quiet down. This can be especially helpful for beginners.
  • Make sure that where you are meditating is quiet and somewhere you will not be disturbed. If you are in a place where interruptions happen on a daily basis, you will not be able to relax.
  • Start out with a little at a time. Don't try to force yourself to start out meditating for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. I think that the best way for beginners to start out is to set a stopwatch and time yourself for the first time. Meditate for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. Use that time to meditate for the first couple of weeks. As you feel comfortable doing so, slowly start to add a few minutes to your meditation time and gradually work up to the time that you would like to meditate for on a daily basis.
  • Comfort is essential. You need to make sure that you are comfortable when meditating, otherwise you are just going to focus on how uncomfortable you are. This includes position that you are sitting or lying in along with the clothes that you are wearing. Just make sure that you are not in a position that you are likely to fall asleep in.
  • Don't attempt to meditate when you are expecting something. Whether it's a child waking up or a phone call that you have been waiting for. You will not be able to relax and concentrate when you are expecting something to happen at any moment. Instead, wait and meditate a little later.
  • Many people find it easier to meditate in the morning before the worries of the day have invaded their thoughts. Many people also find this helpful to avoid interruptions. Simply waking up 10 to 15 minutes before everyone else starts to wake up can be very beneficial.
  • If meditating in the afternoon, evening, or night, it can be helpful to keep a journal. In this journal take a few minutes before meditation to write down your thoughts from the day. Going over these thoughts, and writing them down, can help you rid your mind of them so that they don't keep invading your mind as you meditate.
  • Many people find it beneficial to do some simple stretching, a simple yoga session, or a walk around the block before meditation. This can be very beneficial if you find that your body tends to be restless when you are meditating.
  • Reading books on meditation might be helpful to give you some ideas on different methods of meditation and can provide you with encouraging thoughts and ideas.
  • Experimenting with different methods of meditation is very important. Many people feel that they have to sit cross-legged on the floor in complete silence. We are all unique, however, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for someone else. There are many different methods of meditation, and you should explore the different ways that you can meditate, and figure out what works the best for you. Give each method a fair trial period. One session is generally not a good basis for determining whether a method will suit you. Try one method for a week and see how it feels. If you still don't like it at the end of the week, then move on to the next method. If, however, you try a method and it makes you extremely uncomfortable, I would suggest trying it one more time. If you have the same results the second time, feel free to move on to another method.
  • Meditating with other people can help provide you with support and encouragement. This is also great for giving and receiving ideas and techniques that everyone finds useful or helpful.
  • If there are no meditation groups nearby, or do not fall into a time when you are able to attend, or you don't feel comfortable meditating in a group, perhaps joining an online meditation community can be helpful. Here you will be able to ask questions and discuss problems in an anonymous fashion.
  • Meditation does take practice and patience. You are training the mind, and this will not happen overnight. Be patient and loving with yourself and try to rid yourself of expectations.
  • Remember that meditation should be fun and enjoyable, not seen as a chore. If you dread meditating you are probably trying to hard or expecting results too quickly. Simply take each meditation as a gift and enjoy it for what it is, instead of what you think that it should be.
  • When you are done meditating, feel grateful for the time that you were able to spend in meditation.

These are just a few tips to get you started and cover the main points. Just make meditation a daily practice and you will be amazed at the results. You might even consider keeping a meditation journal so that you can track your development. Sometimes it's difficult to notice the growth yourself, until you go back and read journal entries from a couple of weeks ago, and realize that you have made progress.

Just remember that 'practice makes perfect'. The more you practice, the easier it will become. Don't forget to have patience with yourself, and enjoy the time that you are able to spend in meditation, because each minute is a joy.



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